The Beast Must Die – 1974
Michael Winder – screenplay
James Blish – story
Calvin Lockhart, Charles Gray, Peter Cushing, Michael Gambon, Tom Chadbon, Marlene Clark
Review by John Rouse Merriott Chard
Bark At The Moon.
The Beast Must Die is out of Amicus Productions, directed by Paul Annett and written by Michael Winder from a short story by James Blish. It stars Calvin Lockhart, Charles Gray, Peter Cushing, Michael Gambon, Tom Chadbon and Marlene Clark. Music is by Douglas Gamley and photography by Jack Hildyard. Plot has Lockhart as eccentric millionaire Tom Newcliffe, who invites a group of people to his stately mansion, where he reveals that one of them is a werewolf. He intends to flush the werewolf out with a series of tests. Death, suspicion and shifty shenanigans will follow…..
They really should have stuck to doing creepy anthologies. Amicus that is. For if this turgid, thrill less hack job is anything to go by, it clearly was a stretch too far doing a one premise narrative. Led by the woeful Lockhart, who thinks he’s doing blaxploitation, film plays out like a poor imitation of Ten Little Indians and The Most Dangerous Game as the guests are picked off by an Alsatian Dog, and that really is all there is to it. Only it doesn’t have Agatha Christie’s nous behind it. It’s never scary, Cushing is wasted and the introduction of a Werewolf Break gimmick (we the audience have 30 seconds to guess who the werewolf is before the reveal) just comes off like a cheap knock off of something William Castle did years previously: only it doesn’t have the glint in the eye that Castle had. Even the Technicolor photography is lifeless.